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Convert DVD to MP4 / H.264 with HD Decrypter and Handbrake

Are you looking for a way to convert your DVD collection to high quality MP4 files? Today we are going to take a look at using DVDFab HD Decrypter along with Handbrake to convert DVDs to MP4 using the H.264 codec. 

Process Overview

Handbrake is a great file conversion application, but it unfortunately can’t handle DVD copy protection. For that we will use DVDFab’s HD Decrypter. HD Decrypter is the always free portion of the DVDFab application. What HD Decrypter will do, is remove the copy protection from your DVD, and copy the Video-TS and Audio-TS folders to your hard drive. Once the copy protection is gone, we will use Handbrake to convert the files to MP4 format with H.264 compression.

Note: You’ll get full access to all the options in DVDFab  during the 30 trial period. However, the HD Decrypter is free and will continue to work.

Ripping the DVD

Install both Handbrake and DVDFab HD Decrypter. (Download links below) Once the applications are installed, place your DVD into your DVD drive and open DVDFab. On the welcome screen, click “Start DVDFab.”

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You’ll be prompted to choose your region. Click “OK.”

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The disc is analyzed and opened…

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You’ll be brought to the main interface. Make sure you have the Full Disc option selected at the left panel and “Copy DVD-Video (VIDEO_TS folder) is selected. Click “Start.”

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Don’t be confused by the “DVD to DVD” option pop up. We won’t actually be burning to DVD. The HD Decrypter portion of the DVDFab suite is part of the DVD to DVD option. Click “OK.”

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The DVD will be ripped to your hard drive.

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When the copy process is complete, you’ll be prompted to insert media to start the write process. We aren’t going to be burning to disc, so just click Cancel then close out of DVDFab.

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Converting to MP4

Now we are ready to convert Open Handbrake and click on the “Source” button at the top left. Select DVD / VIDEO_TS folder from the drop down list.

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Now we need to browse for the location where DVDFab HD Decrypter copied your movie. By default, that location will be the \DVDFab\Temp\FullDisc directory in your Documents folder.

For example, in Windows 7, it would be: C:\Users\%username%\Documents\DVDFab\Temp\FullDisc\[Name of Your DVD]

Select the folder, and click “OK.”

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You may be prompted to set a default path in Handbrake. This is an optional step. Click “OK.”

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If you’d like to set a default destination folder, Go to Tools on the top menu, select Options. On the General tab, click “Browse” to select a destination output folder. Click “Close” when Finished.

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Next, click the dropdown list next to “Title.” Select the title that matches the length of the movie. It’s possible you may have see more than one title with a similar length. If so, consult the DVD information, or a site like IMDB.com, to find the proper movie title length.

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Select your container under Output Settings. This will be your final output file extension. We will be using MP4 for this example. You also have the option of MKV.

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If you didn’t set up a default destination folder, you’ll need to select one by clicking the “Browse” button.

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You can manually customize the output file name and change the output file extension to .mp4 (Unless you prefer the iPod friendly .m4v extension).

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Settings

There are a variety of custom settings that can be changed either through the tabs listed under Output Settings, or by selecting one of the Presets to the right.

If converting exclusively for any of the devices listed in the preset list, simply click on that device and the settings will be automatically applied in the Output Settings tabs. For more Universal (non-Apple) devices or output, select the Normal profile.

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For the most part, the presets will suit quite nicely. However, you can further customize settings if you’d like. The Picture tab allows you to tweak the size or cropping region. You must change Anamorphic to Loose or Custom to change the size.

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The Video tab allows you to choose your codec. H.264 is the default. You also have the option to choose a target (output) size. The Constant Quality is recommended to be set between 59% – 63%. Anything over 70% will likely result in an output file larger than the input without any improved quality.

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On the Subtitles tab, you can select an available subtitle from the dropdown list and click “Add” to add it to the output file.

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When you’ve finished any customizations you are ready to begin the conversion process. Click “Start.”

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A Command window will open and you can follow the process. You’ll probably want to find something to do in the meantime as the process could take a couple of hours.

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When the process completes, you’re ready to watch your video.

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Although it’s a time consuming process that involves a couple steps, this method will give you high quality H.264 video files. If you want to rip and burn your DVD’s to ISO check out our article on how to rip and convert DVD’s to an ISO image.

Links

Download DVDFab HD Decrypter (Part of the DVDFab suite)

Download Handbrake

Andrew is a media center geek with some serious Windows skills. He's never far from a WiFi connection or a great cup of coffee.

  • Published 03/24/10

Comments (15)

  1. Gene

    I’ve been using this program for about 3 weeks and it is GREAT. I have found no problems at all and it does everything they claim.

  2. Exitstageleft

    Dvds are only 480i. You won’t get “higher quality” and it won’t look any better just because you use hd compression like H.264 otherwise known as MPEG-4 Part 10. The quality of the video is determined by the ‘ripper’. In this case the DVDFab app. Your other article you refer to in the last line “to rip and convert DVD’s to an ISO image” would result in same quality of playback and probably save you more time.

  3. Mark

    Curious why you have DVDFab do the DVD->DVD and just cancel versus just using the HD decrypt which decrypts directly to disk (and is free always, not just trial)

    Also, I’ve been using the very old AutoGK for re-encoding. It has the advatange of batching many. Any pros/cons of Handbrake over AutoGK other than HB is current and supported.

  4. DigitalGeekery

    @Exitstageleft – I’m not sure where you see “higher quality?” We do say it will give you a high quality mp4 file. I don’t believe we claimed anywhere in the article the output would result in “higher quality” though.

    @Mark – The DVDFab / HD Decrypter part is confusing. It’s essentially all the same, only the initial part which rips to your hard drive is always free. AutoGK is a fine program I use alot myself. AutoGK uses divx/xvid codec vs. h.264 in Handbrake.

  5. Modar

    This is a great guide, Thank you very much!
    But, do you know an easy way to rip the subtitles out of the DVD into .srt files?
    Thank you again.

  6. JonMCC33

    Very good guide but isn’t this promoting pirating? Not sure if HTG would want any sort of MPAA attention.

  7. Nico

    Great article, thanks for the step by step instructions.

  8. Exitstageleft

    @DigitalGeekery –
    My mistake. You are correct. Correct me if I’m wrong here but wouldn’t the quality would be identical to just ripping to an iso file?

  9. Stephan

    @Exitstageleft: Ripping to ISO without re-compressing brings the best quality. If you want to save diskspace for the movie I suspect that ripping the way it is shown here using MPEG4/H.264 will result in better picture-quality than ripping to ISO with re-compressing (depending on the choosen bitrate and resolution of course), because the latter would use MPEG2 for the compression, which is way less advanced.
    Ripping to ISO, either without or with compression, will also leave the video interlaced. If that is an advantage or disadvantage for your usage depends on the monitor and playback-device you’ll play the video on.

  10. Danny

    How do the mp4 files look relative to playing the ripped DVD files directly? is there any info about loss of quality? I just got a Sony Blu-Ray that plays off USB — but not DVD files. Just MPEG-1, 2, 4, WMV9, AVCHD. And I have a lot of .Ts DVD folders on my hard drive.

  11. Aaron

    I’m new at this. I noticed in the tutorial that I need to only check “Copy DVD-Video (VIDEO_TS folder) in Dvd fab. I dont need to check the Dvd-audio (AUDIO_TS folder)? Is the video and audio done with just checking Dvd-video?

  12. kevin

    The converter worked as planned, but Handbrake is malfunctioning. For some reason it won’t run the executable that encodes the movie file that I ripped using the converter. I clicked “Start,” like you said, then the command prompt shows up with some writing (it says “encoding” something), then it says “HandBrakeCLI.exe has stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution to the problem.”

    I’ve tried everything – manually entering the command in the “run” program, changing my presets, reinstalling the program, re-ripping the movie file in DVDFab, even disconnecting from the internet – anything that might cause a problem. But nothing works. I’m using an HP G62-346NR Notebook running Windows 7.

    Could it be that there’s an error caused by Handbrake’s updates themselves? Or is it Windows trying to actively sabotage my efforts to watch my movies that I paid for and have the right to use personally (a little paranoid, I know)? Help!

  13. Andrew

    This is a great guide and works well. The one thing that isn’t mentioned here is anything about audio settings and ripping the DVD with 5.1 audio. Any thoughts? I have done a number of DVDs but they only turn out in 2 channel audio or the audio doesn’t work at all. Do you have a similar walk through with audio setting included??? By the way…keep up the great work!

  14. Lex

    I am having issues with the picture quality. I’m downloading movies and saving them on an external hard drive to hook up to my tv. The issue is getting the movies to a format where the tv will detect them. I finally got the tv to detect them by saving them as mp4′s MPEG format, however, the images are extremely pixilated. I tried changing the picture size on the tv, but all it offers is “fit” or “original” and the original makes the picture much smaller than my tv and it’s still pixilated. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am also using a Mac to do this if that helps any.

  15. sb

    Hi, I have followed the instructions as above. When I convert the dvd iso to mp4 the file is around 800MbB to 1.5GB is this normal. Iso is about 7GB. I do not wish to lose quality. Is this something to worry abuot? Disc space isn’t such a problem I just want my player to read the file – it will read mp4, div x ,mkv but not vob files or iso

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